Exclusive: Today's Sheinelle Jones on how to support women struggling with infertility issues

The NBC star's documentary, Stories We Tell: The Infertility Secret, has started important conversations amongst women

Today's Sheinelle Jones is a well-known face many wake up to each morning on the NBC daytime show.

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But alongside her day job, the talented journalist is a passionate advocate for a subject close to her heart - infertility.

Sheinelle was the executive producer of her documentary, Stories We Tell: The Infertility Secret, which was released at the end of last year.

Even now, Sheinelle is being stopped on a daily basis by women wanting to share their own personal stories with her about a subject which until recently seemed far too secretive.

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VIDEO: Sheinelle Jones opens up about her documentary, Stories We Tell: The Infertility Secret 

Wanting to make sure infertility isn't a subject we shy away from anymore, Sheinelle - a mother of three children - is more than happy to be "the face of the women who want to build a bridge to our sisters who are struggling".

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Chatting to HELLO! during World Infertility Awareness Month, the star has given her advice on how we can open up more about infertility struggles, how we can support those going through it, and how she thinks it's everyone's duty to talk about the subject more.

Sheinelle Jones is shining a light on the subject of infertility 

It's time for motherhood to be more inclusive to everyone

I didn't have any infertiltiy challenges but what I recognised as a mom of three little ones, and as an aunt and a sister and a woman, there are so many of us who have mom blogs and magazines about motherhood and celebrating Mother's Day, but I think it's time for the mom community to reach out to our sisters who would like to join our club. I do not mind being the face of the woman who wants to build a bridge to our sisters who are struggling.

Sheinelle wants motherhood to be more inclusive

I think that's what this is all about. I don't think infertility awareness should just be about women who are having a challenge, I think it should be about all of us who are willing to build a bridge and to connect and to talk and to hear what they are going through. Infertility awareness is not just for a small community, it's for all of us.

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Supporting friends going through infertility issues is by letting them know you are thinking of them

I have always known how painful it is for families but I think I struggled about what to say, especially as I have children of my own and when I had my children I would have women around me trying and it hadn't worked. And what I learnt from them is that it's sometimes okay not knowing what to say, and say: "Hey, I just want you to know that I can't imagine your pain and you don't have to talk about it if you don't want to, but I'm here and I just want you to know that I see you and I'm praying for you and that I'm thinking of you." Just letting them know that you are aware - that's enough.

The star at the viewing of her infertility documentary 

We don't have to hide from it or try to change the subject, there are baby showers that come around and it's hard for some women to go to them if they are having challenges. Before I made my documentary it was something that never really crossed my mind. But the women who are having these challenges are the best aunts, the best big cousins. All of the little kids in the family love them. They are the cool aunty. And for so long all of these cool aunties have been suffering quietly. I think now it's time for the sisters to reach out to the cool aunties as women who would love to be a mom in any way.

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It doesn't have to be through fertility it could be adoption. I think it's time for all of us to lift the veil on this conversation, because we do ourselves a disservice not to talk about things. For me it's also a female empowerment issue. We've been told not to talk about it and to keep it private, but who told us we can't talk about fertility? Where did that rule come from? Who made that rule? It's time for us to take that back.

More conversations need to be had in the media

I think the more we have conversations and people in the public eye being honest about freezing their eggs or having an egg donor or saying 'Hey I'm not quite sure if I want a family,' I think then people will be more willing to talk about it and share their stories. Sharing is not for everyone, there' so many places for privacy and that's totally okay too. My only thing is for women who are suffering, I don't want them to feel that they are alone.

The TV personality with her Today co-anchors Al Roker and Dylan Dreyer 

The response from my documentary on infertility has been overwhelming

I had women from Africa saying 'thank you for seeing me'. It was my dream for all women black, white, yellow or green to be seen and heard. And for me, mission accomplished. At the screening I cried. I had people saying they see themselves in all the different women in my documentary, it was so affirming.

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To this day I am still receiving messages and receiving requests to reach out to different groups and listening to podcasts. There is a strong, resilient community who I feel like they have been silent but fierce. Especially after the documentary aired I feel they felt affirmed. I see them, I see their fight, I think they felt seen in a way they haven't in a while, if not forever. I'm so glad we did it. The conversation certainly continues too.

Sheinelle's documentary, Stories We Tell: The Infertility Secret, has opened up important conversations 

Thinking about your fertility should start in schools

Talk about it with your parents, talk about it when you're in college and you're starting to think about your future. As much as you think about your career, start to think about your health. When we go to those doctor's visits, I think it's important to talk to your doctor about your future. I think it's okay when you're in your mid-thirties to see and check what your egg count is.

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This is something we never dreamed of talking about it. So, this is World Infertility Awareness Month, I'm so happy we can use this month to talk about it again and say it's not just for women who are trying to have children, it's much more than that. For me, the awareness concept is starting when you're in your twenties and early thirties, taking ownership of your health. If you need to have surgery, ask your doctor about the risks of the surgery and how it will impact your fertility. There are so many things we need to talk about before we get into our forties and are thinking about having a family.

You can watch Sheinelle's documentary, Stories We Tell: The Infertility Secret, on Peacock TV

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